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The EU must safeguard net neutrality

Public Service Europe - Paul Meller - If you compromise the principal of net neutrality, you undermine the very openness and entrepreneurialism that has made the internet what it is today.

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has renewed her vows to promote network neutrality in Europe, hinting that she might propose a law to that effect next year. While her intentions are good, some observers fear they will not amount to anything concrete in terms of legislation while she tries to balance the interests of information technology and telecoms providers.

We are urging her to take action to safeguard network neutrality but the telecoms companies are fighting back. The two constituencies are diametrically opposed to each other on the issue. Under such pressure, inaction is more likely than action. But a failure to act will lead to differential pricing and selective carriage of certain web-based services such as voice over internet protocol, or VoIP, on telecoms networks – something we wholeheartedly oppose.

Telecoms groups warn of network congestion and claim that differently priced internet packages are the answer. However, it is essential that the internet should remain fully accessible. If you compromise the principal of net neutrality, you undermine the very openness that has made the internet what it is.